Paul Walter Quinn was born in 1959 in Dundee, Scotland.
In the late 1970's Paul Quinn became involved in the so-called "Postcard" scene around Glasgow through his old school friend Edwyn Collins and began singing with a band known as The Jazzateers. Sharing the vocals with a girl called Alison Gourlay, and then later with The Rutkowski Sisters, they made some recordings for Alan Horne which were earmarked for release on the Postcard label but these failed to materialise as Orange Juice signed to Polydor and the label ground to a halt. Quinn then left the band, and the core members of the Jazzateers, Ian Burgoyne (guitar) and Keith Band (bass) recruited a new singer, Grahame Skinner (who later went on to have a UK Top 10 Hit in the band Hipsway) and recorded a single and an album for Rough Trade.
Shortly after that Quinn rejoined the band and they renamed themselves Bourgie Bourgie with a 2nd guitarist Mick Slaven and drummer Kenny McDonald. Almost immediately their demos began to pick up interest and they appeared on the short-lived Channel 4 music show "The Switch" in May 1983 playing two songs (both of which were old Jazzateers numbers).
Soon the band signed a deal with MCA Records and were being touted as the "next big thing", recording a session for John Peel and appearing on The Tube. However, in March 1984 the debut single "Breaking Point" narrowly missed out on the Top 40 and a swiftly released follow-up "Careless" didn't even make the Top 75. The band began recording their debut album in West Germany but after the first session completed - Quinn walked out. He was swiftly back in the Alan Horne stable, however, recording with Edwyn Collins and working on the apocryphal "Punk Rock Hotel" film soundtrack.
Two singles with Edwyn followed on Horne's new Swamplands label - firstly a cover of The Velvet Underground's "Pale Blue Eyes" which peaked in the UK Charts at 72 but a follow-up, the Collins-authored "Ain't That Always The Way" failed to chart at all.
Quinn next appeared later in 1985 singing with ex-Depeche Mode/Yazoo main-man Vince Clarke. At the time Clarke had never released a single that hadn't made the Top 40 and he was planning to record with a variety of vocalists, of which Quinn was the second (the first being Feargal Sharkey of The Undertones in "The Assembly"). The track "One Day" was a beautiful but subdued affair by Clarke's standards and disappointingly failed to make the Top 75. Shortly afterwards Clarke would hire Andy Bell as his permanent singer under the banner of Erasure (and it should be noted that the first few Erasure singles also flopped).
There was then talk of a Paul Quinn solo album in the works (featuring a cover of Karla Bonoff's "Personally") which was to be the pinnacle of Horne's output with Swamplands. However, after multiple missed deadlines, London Records and Horne/Swamplands came to a mutual agreement to end their business relationship and whatever was committed to tape never saw the light of day. Amidst rumours of contractual disputes preventing him from performing or recording, nothing more was heard from Quinn until the early 1990's.
Alan Horne re-launched his Postcard label in 1992 with Quinn's album "The Phantoms & The Archetypes" being the first release. Produced by Edwyn Collins and recorded with a backing band ("The Independent Group") made up of a host of Scottish indie royalty, it was a great country-tinged album but was eclipsed by interest in the release of the original Orange Juice debut album "Ostrich Churchyard" which Horne released shortly afterwards.
The following year saw the low-key release on Postcard of the stunning "Stupid Thing" single, once again with "The Independent Group" and although there was little publicity it nearly made single of the week in the NME and boded well for the next album.
Released in 1994 "Will I Ever Be Inside Of You" is a record of untold depth and beauty and quite seriously a criminal offence that it is not more widely known. If you don't own a copy then you may not realise what a gaping hole you have in your life and for that I pity you. Track down a copy and buy it. Then play it until your ears begin to physically smile. After that, it doesn't matter if you die. You will die happy. In fact several of those who witnessed the "Cheap Flights" one-off performance of the album at the Glasgow Film Theatre on Wednesday 12th October 1994 have still yet to live through a better day.
The last thing he released in 1995, this time with The Nectarine No. 9 as house band,"Tiger Tiger" is sublime and probably one of Quinn's finest vocal performances. A shame that this is the only track which exists from this fine collaboration.
He currently lives in Dundee, Scotland.
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